THE CHURCH AND MONEY LAUNDERING

 

Heart For The House Logo

Lance Goodall 15 July 2019


Heart for the House Offering

 

Every year in June, Hillsong Church holds a special ‘Heart for the House’ weekend where the whole church gathers to give towards the Hillsong Foundation.

‘Every year in June’, which is just prior to the end of the financial year. Why do churches need to take advantage of the end of the financial year?

Religious organisations are among such special interest groups. Under Australian law, religious organisations are exempt from taxation. This exempts something of the order of $30 billion a year from taxation.

The Catholic Church accounts for half of that. It is bigger than all the others combined, pulling in about $16 billion annually. One of the ATO’s (Australian Tax Office) definitions of ‘charity’ is the ‘advancement of religion’ (4).

 

It is highly likely that this definition will be retained, despite public submissions (5) demonstrating that further incursions of religion into society are not of public benefit.

Consequently, any trust fund or institution whose sole purpose is to sell religion can enjoy multiple tax exemptions. These include fringe benefits tax (FBT), GST, stamp duty, land tax, company and capital gains tax, car registration fees and municipal rates.

The taxation reform package includes the new Unrelated Business Income Tax (UBIT), intended to target commercial enterprises owned by NFPs (Not For Profit). However, this only applies to businesses commenced from May 2011. The transition period for businesses operating before that date could take years.

Businesses already operating do so free of company tax and also enjoy FBT and GST concessions. This includes businesses such as Sanitarium, owned by the Seventh Day Adventists, a music publishing and recording business owned by Hillsong, and rental properties owned by mainstream churches.

According to Hillsong “Not equal giving, but equal sacrifice” is a hallmark phrase that has framed our Heart for the House offering. Year after year, we have seen sacrificial giving that is breathtaking. What God has accomplished on the earth through the sacrifice of many is nothing short of miraculous.

We invite you to join with us in cause and faith as we endeavour to advance the Kingdom of God on the earth through His church.

Video: See where the money goes at 5.50 mins

Heart For The House

 

The last weekend before the end of the financial year Hillsong throughout the global network raised a massive $16 Million in one weekend. 

But does anyone smell a rat, or at least an obvious rort and ongoing racketeering in the name of blessing the house, which in turn will bless ME!

Instead of Heart for the House, why cant it just be a “Heart for the Lost”, or a ‘Heart for the Poor.’

Even after the Heart for the House weekend, Hillsong leadership still promoted their ‘Kingdom Builders’ giving programme at Hillsong’s annual conference in the past week. Those donating $5000 and above are called “Kingdom Builders”; those contributing $2500-$4999 are “Vision Impactors”; below that sum lie the “Army of Faithful Believers”.

 

The answer is found in HILLSONG’S splash for cash is found in their method of giving. The idea of the advancement of God’s kingdom is through the local church. Its like a form of cryptocurrency, it needs to go through the church platform, the giving converted to Hillsong tokens,  and linked to their funding goals before it sees the light of day.

 

 

Its a clever and sophisticated form of religious money laundering where the organisation is granted full rights to the money received and placed in trust to the priestly bean-counters who are down the hall, and to the right at Hillsong HQ.

Money laundering activities go through three major stages which are the placement, layering and integration stages.

The placement stage is the stage where money sourced from illegal activities is first “placed” into the financial system to be used as clean money. At this stage, the church can be used to advance the course of Money Laundering as Christians and/or church goers who have engaged in criminal activities can give offerings, pledges, tithes, building project contribution, seed sowing and special offerings with the illegally acquired funds.

These illegal funds received by the churches will be co-mingled with genuine fund and deposited into the bank account of the church as normal church activity money. Some pastors or church leaders can easily add their illegally acquired money to the donations and other offerings from church members and deposit the money in their bank accounts. When asked by their “curious” bank because of the unusual huge deposit, they will then say the money is from special offerings from the church. The church leader would have used the church as a means to launder the money.

These church leaders are using the church to acquire worth for themselves without paying any tax to the government.

 

These church leaders have reality shows and move around the world delivering motivational and/or inspirational messages, all in the name of church activity, and still avoid the payment of taxes.

But the professional speakers who deliver the same motivational and/or inspirational messages are taxed by the government.

Another way the church could be used for money laundering activities is when the criminal who is a church member gives a loan to the church for the construction of a church building. The church then pays off the loan by issuing a cheque to the church member. The cheque will then find itself in the financial system as clean money.

Churches with international affiliation could also fuel the money laundering activities. Funds acquired through illegal means could be smuggled across borders to other countries where they have sister churches. The foreign church will either transfer the money back through their bank to the local church or use the funds in its country.

When this happens the money has been washed to look clean.

 

The overall scheme returns the money to the launderer in an obscure and indirect way.

One problem of these tax free donations is accounting for the proceeds without raising the suspicion of law enforcement agencies. Considerable time and effort may be put into strategies which enable the safe use of those proceeds without raising unwanted suspicion. After the money has been laundered, it can be used for legitimate purposes.

 

When you think of money laundering, trust and integrity are not what comes to mind. Yet trust and integrity are the calling cards of nonprofits. This is just one reason everyone in the social sector needs to be thinking about what it means if 501(c)(4)s and 501(c)(6)s start gaining a reputation as fronts for company money.

 

Now to clarify there may be no obvious tax evasion or money laundering in connection with Hillsong, however, on occasion the funds received may be used for assets acquisition or for exempted commercial operations and contravene the underlying conditions, for example, the obligation to allocate part of the company‘s revenue to social aims.

 

Once the money is received the money can be apportioned for this, or that and no-one will know where the funds end up.

 

‘The giver gives by faith.’

See OECD report on abuse of Charities

MY FAITH DECREE

IT’S COMING BACK!

“I am a child of God, made in His image and committed to His cause – In 2019, I want Christ’s selfless nature to frame my life and be my guide – I recognise God’s extravagant generosity towards me and I desire to reflect His generosity in all that I do – 2019 will be a year of breakthrough, favour and blessing as I commit to living my life extravagantly generous – I will be generous towards God, towards my church, towards the people I love and towards the people who need my generosity the most – I believe financial revival is in the air!” – Brian Houston

 

“Financial revival is in the air!” — Well maybe for Brian!

 

Home

This is giving for the House is tied into the long standing prosperity mantra, where if I give to something “God is Blessing”, then I will be blessed in return.

Instead of ‘Heart for the House’, why cant it just be a ‘Heart for the Lost’, or a ‘Heart for the Poor.’

 

HEAVEN IN THE HOUSE

NSW:
Our venues and gathering places are bursting at the seams and overflowing with life. We are pursuing permanent facilities and hoping to complete upgrades to our existing campuses, in order to foster continued growth.

Harvest for the house equates to nothing more than extensive building programmes and money spent on plush carpets, lighting, broadcast systems, welcome packs, music equipment and more places to add to the accruing amount of Hillsong real estate.

QLD & NORTHERN TERRITORY:

Revival truly is in the air in Queensland and the Northern Territory. We are seeing a gathering of the lost and the prodigals returning to the House of God.

They may be returning to the house, but with Hillsong’s gospel most wouldn’t know they are prodigals. No mention of sin or repentance, the need to die to our old life and ways of thinking.

VICTORIA & TASMANIA:

We believe the greatest days are ahead for Victoria and Tasmania, as our campuses continue to grow and thrive in their local communities.

If they are thriving that’s wonderful, as Tasmania is the witchcraft capital of Australia.

WESTERN AUSTRALIA, BALI & BEYOND:

Something new is happening across Western Australia and Asia, in Jesus’ name.

“Something new is happening”, but these statements are never clearly defined…..

Home

ON EARTH AS IT IS IN HEAVEN

Oh,,,, yes that’s right we have the poor we should be caring for. Sorry I almost forgot….. Those new facilities in Bali and NSW cost quite a pretty penny you know. And really $16 Million doesn’t really go far in these days of tightening the belt and talk of recession.

CITYCARE
Through CityCare’s ongoing programs and services, our mission is to do what we can to help create healthy families, foster safe, inclusive communities and reduce vulnerabilities for children, youth, women, refugees and asylum seekers and our first nation people.

CITYCARE YOUTH
CityCare Youth Program aims to support vulnerable and at-risk young people in becoming resilient and empowered to contribute, lead and fulfil their potential.

HOMES OF PEACE
Homes of Peace is our transitional housing program for women and children leaving family and domestic violence situations.

HILLSONG CHANNEL

Our Hillsong Channel brings the message of Jesus to 160 million people around the world.

Really 160 Million? Most of those will be in Western Countries who see little need for the gospel.

ONE80TC

ONE80TC exists to rescue lives from the devastating effects of alcohol
 and drug addiction, to restore hope and rebuild families.

Here’s one example of the funds use;

 

  • Increasing Residential Program outreach by actively seeking out a new campus site in the Newcastle / Port Stephens area. This program will link into our Hillsong Newcastle Campus!
  • The ONE80TC Yarramundi Men’s Centre is in need of improvements, and an upgrade of all fire safety and protection equipment. Whilst carrying out this maintenance, they will also reconfigure room layouts with a focus on increasing capacity so they can rescue, restore and rebuild the lives of more men and their respective families.

More building projects and facility upgrades,

A21
We support A21’s work of safe repatriation of children rescued from trafficking to begin a life of restoration and safety.

Yes…. but how much of this generous offering are they getting?

PREEMPTIVE LOVE COALITION

Our support of Preemptive Love Coalition provides vital assistance to families displaced by the violence that has ravaged Syria and Iraq.

HILLSONG AFRICA FOUNDATION (HAF)

Our partnership with HAF is helping equip and empower people to build their lives and impact South Africa.

VISION RESCUE

We are excited to partner with Vision Rescue in their mission to help children access and maintain education in slum communities across Mumbai.